Iraq’s refining capacity has declined since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the country, regarded as the world’s second larges in oil reserves, cannot now meet its energy needs.
The sources said most of the additional capacity will be achieved once the ministry implements a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate current refineries and built new ones in several provinces.
If fully operational, Iraqi refineries can churn out up to 750,000 barrels a day. But the sources said they were working at much below their capacity.
Power outages and attacks of sabotage particularly hitting the northern refining complex of Baiji, the largest in the country, are hampering production, the sources said.
Earlier, ministry sources had said that Iraq wanted to boost oil output from the current 1.75 million barrels a day to 2.250 million by the end of the year.
The oil industry is said to be suffering with conditions described as even worse than those prevalent when the country was under punitive U.N. trade sanctions.(Source)Ali Khalil, Azzaman